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E-1 & E-2 Treaty Investory

E-1 Visa: The E-1 visa is available to foreign nationals who want to come to the U.S. to engage in substantial trade between the U.S. and the foreign national’s home country.  The E-1 visa is typically a good option for executives and managers of international companies that carry on substantial trade with the United States, but other company employees can qualify for the E-1 visa as well.

E-2 Visa: The E-2 visa allows foreign investors to come to the U.S. in order to develop and oversee their investment into a U.S. business.  The foreign investor can invest into an existing business or use the investment funds to create a brand new business.

In order to qualify for the E-1 or E-2 visa, the foreign national must be a national of a country that maintains a trade treaty with the United States.  The U.S. Department of State maintains a list of E-1 and E-2 countries that you can read here.


Citizens of foreign countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation, or a bilateral investment treaty providing for nonimmigrant entries, with the United States can obtain E-1 and E-2 visas.  The E-1 visa is intended for alien business owners, managers, and employees who need to stay in the U.S. for extended periods of time to manage or work for a business trading between the U.S. and the treaty country.  The E-2 visa is for foreign nationals who are citizens or nationals of a treaty country and want to move to the U.S. to build and operate a business in which he has invested, or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.  There are a number of specific requirements which must be satisfied for each visa.

Both E-1 and E-2 visa holders are initially allowed a maximum stay of two years. Requests for extension of stay can be filed and may be granted for periods of up to two years each. Notably, there is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-1 nonimmigrant may be granted, as long as the alien maintains the intention to depart the U.S. when their status expires or is terminated.

There are three main requirements to apply for both E-1 and E-2 visas:

  • A treaty must exist between the United States and the foreign country under whose treaty the E status is sought;
  • Majority ownership or control of the investing or trading company must be held by nationals of the foreign country under whose treaty the E status is sought;
  • Citizenship of the foreign country under whose treaty the status is sought by each employee or principal of the company who is seeking the E status pursuant to the treaty.

E-1 and E-2 visas are available to citizens of foreign countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation, or a bilateral investment treaty providing for nonimmigrant entries, with the United States.  The E-1 (“Treaty Trader”) visa is specifically designed for alien business owners, business managers, and employees who are required to stay in the U.S. for prolonged periods of time to oversee or work for an enterprise that is engaged in trade between the U.S. and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for the E-1 designation.  The E-2 (“Treaty Investors”) visa is available to an alien who is a citizen or national of a treaty country and who wishes to enter the U.S. solely to develop and direct the operation of an enterprise in which he or she has invested, or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital. Specific criteria must be met to qualify for either visa.

For more information, please visit the Department of State treaty trader and investor page, or the USCIS web pages on E-1 and E-2.  To schedule a time to speak with an attorney, contact us by clicking here.